The Birds and the Bees

Mid-winter is upon us, bringing our fair share of rain and cold units, which are essential for the vine’s dormancy. Temperatures in the valley have been variable, with the cold days interspersed with warmer, springlike days. More cold units are needed, so we are happy for winter to continue – and hopefully bring a few days where we’ll see snow-capped mountains.


Early in July, we were thrilled to receive another accolade for our Chardonnay 2021 at The Trophy Wine Show – one of South Africa’s most prestigious shows. The International Judge’s Trophy was awarded for the best wine of the show, picked by the international judges on the panel. Quite an award, which follows nicely from last year’s trophy for the Best Cabernet Sauvignon, awarded to our Rondekop Per Se Cabernet Sauvignon 2019. The Chardonnay scored 97 points – and it is Nic’s third wine to do so in the past year (the Per Se 2019 and Chenin Blanc 2020 both achieved a 97-point rating). I thoroughly recommend this wine to you – it is a beauty! Our belief in the higher altitude Stellenbosch Chardonnay story continues to grow – we are indeed just getting started!

There is plenty of action on the farm at the moment, with our vineyard (re)plantings in full swing. One of the critical elements for planting a vineyard is the plant spacing. It may seem like they are just planted in rows, but I assure you –  there is nothing random about it. Science is meticulously applied to ensure the optimal outcome.


Vineyards can provide a safe home to mice, with the vineyard rows providing secure cover. Unfortunately, the mice habitually bite into the vine stems, and tunnel into the root systems, which can adversely affect the plants. Christo has now planted raptor lookout poles in the vineyards, for the birds of prey to sit on whilst they spy their next meal. The poles ‘level up’ the playing field as the birds can now have a better vantage point. The bird life on Oldenburg is quite stunning, and over the past few years, I believe we have managed to make the farm a better natural habitat for all creatures.


Our beehives are also being populated. Christo will be relocating swarms into the various hives. Our previous beehives were vandalised and raided during the Covid alcohol prohibition (people sought any source of sugar – such as honey – to make their own ‘moonshine’). Now safely relocated within the fynbos, it will not be long before we again have some honey to taste.


Recently, Nic spent some time tasting our wines with Jamie Goode – one of the UK’s best known wine journalists. The tasting focused on wines from both previous and current vintages – to compare and contrast. Jamie’s conclusion (to quote from the article he wrote) was: “…the difference (between the wines) is quite significant, and I reckon this is now one of Stellenbosch’s very top wineries.” Jamie gave our wines some excellent ratings – follow the link to our Blog to read the full article.


At the end of July, we hosted our inaugural 8 Elements Cape Town Wine Club Dinner, at ëlgr Restaurant in Cape Town. Hosted by Nic, it was a great success. In August, Nic and Stefan will be making a wine road trip down the Garden Route – I am sure it will be a lot of fun. Don’t hesitate to contact Marthélize if you wish to know more about our 8 Elements or Rondekop Wine Clubs and their associated events. (hint: they are not just popular, but also a lot of fun!).


Time Magazine recently recognised The Winelands – and specifically, Franschhoek – ranking it amongst The World’s Greatest Places of 2022. Franschhoek and Stellenbosch (also recently discovered as one of the world’s coolest towns), are both gems and worthy of a top slot on anyone’s bucket list. Confidently, I recommend you sneak a visit to The Tasting Room at Oldenburg Vineyards onto that bucket list – you will have to visit to discover why.

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